Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Shakespearean Comedy

Shakespearean Comedy
Because of his humanist education, Shakespeare was familiar with classical (Greek and Latin) comedy. Greek darkened comedy (e.g. Aristophanes, ca.448-380 B.C.) was generally satirical and frequently political in nature. Greek new comedy (e.g. Menander, ca. 343-291 B.C.) involved sex and seduction and often showed youth outwitting old age. Although Menanders plays have survived only in fragments, Shakespeare would have known his work through the Latin adaptations of the roman type poet Terence (ca. 190-159 B.C.). The Latin comedies of Terence and another Roman poet, Plautus (ca. 258?-184 B.C.), were much canvass in Elizabethan schools. (From his humanist grammar school education, Shakespeare also learned about characters such as Theseus and Hippolyta or Pyramus and Thisbe, whose story is assemble in Ovids Metamorphoses). From Terence and Plautus, Shakespeare learned how to organize a plot in a way modern editors may represent as a five-act organize. Loosely speaking, it moves from:

1. A situation with tensions or unverbalized conflict (Exposition)
2. Implicit conflict is developed (Rising Action)
3. Conflict reaches bill; frequently an impasse (Turning Point)
4. Things begin to clear up (Falling Action)

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trouble is resolved, knots untied (Conclusion)

Thus, the action of a comedy traces a act from conflict to the resolution of conflict, from some sort of (generally figurative) bondage to freedom, in spite of obstacles, complications, reversals, and discoveries. It ends with celebration and unity. This stage often includes the expulsion or evacuation of characters so lost or misguided that they cannot be accommodated or restored to society (e.g. Shylock, Malvolio). Hence a touch of sadness or reality may impinge on the final celebration.

This structure differentiates Shakespeares comedies from earlier works that presented the seemingly random adventures of a booster in a relatively formless way (e.g. a series of episodes of...If you want to get a full essay, set it on our website: Ordercustompaper.com

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